Clergy salaries in the Church of England averaged only $4,000 last year. Inflation is running at 26 per cent a year for the country, but the denomination has asked its parishioners to increase weekly donations by 40 per cent. Church leaders hope with increased giving to raise clergy stipends by $800. Many clergymen must supplement their income by teaching or taking in lodgers.
And the Church of England is losing membership—it dropped one million communicants in twenty years—and is trying to reduce costs by closing parishes and schools. In recent years the church has closed 500 parishes, and there are 2,500 fewer parish priests than in 1969. Leaders predict a loss of 3,000 more ministers by 1980. The 130-year-old Anglican Church of All Saints and St. Barnabas, a 13,000-member parish, averages about twenty persons per Sunday service.
Controversial Donald Coggan, 66, who a year ago became the archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the worldwide Anglican communion, has launched what may become known as the “Coggan Quadrilateral,” a campaign to get Britons back to the basics: “Each man and woman matters; the family matters; good work matters; the other fellow matters.”
On radio and television interviews, telephone talk shows, and press conferences Coggan has claimed that Britons are drifting anchorless: “The tide of stark materialism, envy, and selfishness” must stop. “Guzzling doesn’t satisfy. Grabbing and getting is a poor creed.” Coggan himself has voluntarily reduced his salary from $21,600 a year to an undisclosed figure. Many of the church’s forty-two diocesan bishops, following Coggan’s lead, have refused their $690 salary increases voted last spring.
Coggan has called for small groups of people—Christians and non-Christians—across the country to get together to discuss two questions: “What sort of society are we looking for?” and “What kind of people are needed for the creation of this society?” From now on, he urged, God must come first.
Reaction to Coggan’s appeal has been widespread. He has received more than 20,000 letters supporting the idea. The Roman Catholic Church, the National (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland, and some Baptist groups have stated their approval publicly. Fourteen members of Parliament have requested a motion supporting the archbishop’s appeal. And Queen Elizabeth during the ceremony opening the General Synod of the Church of England also voiced approval.
Others, both liberals and conservatives, have criticized Coggan for concerning himself with affairs outside the church’s supposed boundaries. The archbishop counters by claiming that the church has a role in society. A trade-union official described Coggan’s statement as a “series of very smug establishment platitudes,” and socialist bishop Mervyn Stockwood attacked Coggan (see following story) for stopping short of the real social problems—hunger, unemployment, inadequate housing.
Even the Church Times, voice of the Anglican establishment, criticized the archbishop for raising questions without providing answers. The paper also reported that several of Coggan’s fellow bishops were “deeply disappointed.”
Whatever else Coggan’s proposal has done, it has at least provoked discussion about the place and role of the church in today’s society. Last month hundreds of workers packed the Church of St. Maryle-Bow in London to hear Coggan debate the colorful journalist and Christian convert Malcolm Muggeridge on the subject of Great Britain’s moral disintegration, a favorite topic of Muggeridge.
Says Coggan, “Religion is being talked about all over Britain in a way it wasn’t before—and that is good.”
Wearing yellow robes draped over one shoulder, pigtailed Hare Krishna missionaries caused a rash of complaints in Japan last summer by selling pamphlets and asking for donations on the streets. (Hare Krishna, which originated in India as a sect of Hinduism, is now based in the United States and claims sixty-two chapters worldwide.) The Japan chapter is located in Hachioji City, a Tokyo suburb.
Thus far five devotees have been arrested on a variety of charges, and two others were charged with robbery. Reports of street harassment have also been registered.
The Japanese police agency ordered the nation’s prefectural police to increase vigilance over the yellow-robed group’s activities. At the same time the agency asked the Justice Ministry to refuse an extension of stay for the young men, all on tourist visas, on grounds that sales activities by tourists are not allowed.
NELL L. KENNEDY
Bishop And Morning Star
“The spiritual state of the diocese of Southwark is a matter of disgrace,” said an influential member of the church assembly at Westminster on one memorable occasion in the 1960s. Certainly under the leadership of Mervyn Stockwood the London South Bank diocese has continually hit the headlines. Stockwood’s associate, Bishop John Robinson, had scandalized the country with Honest to God; the cathedral’s vice provost had called the Resurrection “absolute nonsense” (“were they practicing rocketry on the Mount of Olives in those days?”); and Stockwood himself had fathered a number of controversies, not least when he said he would like to pull down half the churches in his diocese.
The 62-year-old bachelor bishop was only running true to form last month when he made some critical remarks about the archbishop of Canterbury’s call for moral renewal—and did so in the Morning Star, Britain’s Communist daily. After making some complimentary noises about society in Communist lands, he added: “I have no intention of shoring up a society which, because of its basic injustices, is at last crumbling in ruins.”
This allusion to the homeland provoked a storm that passed even Mervyn Stockwood’s expectations. There were demands in parliament for his resignation (in England diocesan bishops are crown-appointed), and his references to the superior morality to be found in Eastern European countries were fiercely challenged. In Moscow, one Labour member of parliament pointed out, “drunkenness is a most acute problem,” and increasing to such an extent that “it makes Glasgow seem like Salt Lake City by comparison.” A Conservative spokesman for once agreed with the opposite side, calling Stockwood’s comments “the biggest load of rubbish since the Red Dean of Canterbury.”
Still true to form, Stockwood claimed to have been misunderstood. His Morning Star article, he said, had “neither approved nor disapproved the communist regime.” He pointed out that his criticism of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia had led to his no longer being invited to receptions at the Russian embassy.
Ironically, just before the controversy began, Stockwood had announced the appointment as his chaplain of the Reverend Paul Oestreicher. By an odd coincidence, Oestreicher had been among the press corps at the 1968 Uppsala Assembly of the World Council of Churches. He was reporting for—the Morning Star.
Episcopal Evangelicals: School Bell Rings
American members of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion will start a seminary in the Pittsburgh area next September. Chosen to head the school is Alfred Stanway, an Australian bishop who headed the missionary diocese of Central Tanganyika from 1951 to 1971 and who has been deputy principal of Ridley College, Melbourne, since then. He began his epsicopal duties in Africa after his consecration by the archbishop of Canterbury in Westminster Abbey.
Evangelical Episcopalians have been increasingly vocal in recent years, and they have set up a number of organizations to translate their words into actions. One of the groups, the Fellowship of Witness, is the American branch of the worldwide Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion.
The American organization announced plans for “Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry” in the fall edition of its quarterly, Christian Foundations. Seven of the board members of the seminary are also on the board of the fellowship, which is headquartered in the Pittsburgh suburb of Sewickley. Board members of both live in various parts of the nation, however.
Plans call for: the new institution to begin classes in 1976 and to grant degrees by 1979. Besides providing academic preparation for Episcopal clergymen, it is intended to offer evangelical theological training to the laity.
Bishop Stanway said the initial announcement has created a good deal of interest and brought many student applications. He said only those already committed to Christ will be accepted. Full-time faculty for the first term will number four, including him. Negotiations to acquire property have begun.
Sponsors say they are beginning the institution in the same pattern followed by many other Episcopal seminaries even though it is not operated by the national church hierarchy. The announcement in the quarterly magazine said “the way was cleared” ecclesiastically after board members consulted with the presiding bishop of the national church, John M. Allin, and the Pittsburgh bishop, Robert B. Appleyard.
Weir For Irish Presbyterians
Fifty-five-year-old Jack Weir, one of the Protestant clergymen whose secret talks with the Irish Republican Army a year ago paved the way for the IRA ceasefire that began earlier this year, is the new moderator-elect of the 400,000-member Irish Presbyterian Church, which is the largest Protestant denomination in Northern Ireland.
Since 1964 Weir has been the clerk of the church’s General Assembly, and he was expected to win the nomination with over half the twenty-two votes cast. But he scraped in by only one vote. After the election Weir said, “The surprise was not that I was elected but that I was elected with such a narrow majority over the seven other candidates.… It shows the feeling of conservatism in the church, and that mood of uncertainty is mirrored in the society of Northern Ireland.”
Weir, seven other Protestant ministers, and a layman met IRA staff chief David O’Connell and other leaders at Feakle in the Irish Republic in December, 1974, to explain the Protestant position to the largely Catholic terrorist group. Sections of his church were suspicious of his actions with the IRA, though a general resolution by the denomination later backed him.
Weir takes over as moderator next June under difficult circumstances despite the IRA ceasefire. Eight soldiers, seven policemen, and 176 civilians have died in Ulster since February 10, the official beginning of the truce.
Born of missionary parents in Manchuria and himself a missionary in China until he came to Ireland in 1950, Weir is a determined man: “I’m an activist. I believe in doing things. I have not been a negative clerk of the General Assembly. People know from the Feakle talks with the IRA that I am a man who is prepared to act on my own initiative.”
Leaders of the European Evangelical Alliance expect more Christians in more nations than ever to join in the Alliance Week of Prayer during the first week of January, 1976. Their optimism is based partly on the addition of groups from two more nations to the alliance and partly on what they see as a deepening interest in the evangelical cause.
At its annual meeting, held in Copenhagen in September, the council of the alliance accepted into membership the Evangelical Alliance of Italy and the Evangelical Alliance in the (East) German Democratic Republic. Representing the German organization, Pastor Karl Wohlegemuth of Plauen said at least 2,000 local groups observe the week of prayer each January. From these and other groups, he added, up to 5,000 persons attend the annual Evangelical Alliance meeting in Bad Blankenburg. An invitation to the European Alliance, to meet in 1977, was accepted.
The time of the annual week of prayer was thought to be a problem for some, since it was close to the “ecumenical” week of prayer for Christian unity in the third week of the same month. Alliance representatives who had discussed the matter with a representative of the World Council of Churches reported that there should be no difficulty, since material for the ecumenical prayer week is not dated and some churches do in fact use it at other than the January date.
The Council of the alliance issued a statement directed to “the leaders of the churches on the one hand, and of the parachurch groups on the other.” It urged them to accept the principle that each “has a God-given task, even if different in form and method, provided that there is a biblical foundation, and suggested that advance notice be given before new projects are started. A special concern of the statement was the parachurch groups “of foreign origin.”
The council took note of the formation of a theological faculty in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, bringing together personnel from Lutheran and other evangelical groups. Its theological basis is the Lausanne Covenant.
The council reviewed its relations with both the World Evangelical Fellowship and the Lausanne Continuation Committee. Representatives of both were on hand, and the council noted with approval that both were willing to work with and through the alliance in Europe.
Church Growth In Troubled Thailand
Rioting police protesters last month ransacked the prime minister’s house in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. The next day 5,000 vocational students hijacked thirty-two buses and attacked Thammasart University with plastic bombs, Molotov cocktails, and grenades.
In September, 150 Communist guerrillas ambushed a Thai armored patrol in South Thailand. Four soldiers were killed and sixteen seriously wounded as mines and grenades exploded and automatic rifle fire rattled for more than an hour.
Thai government intelligence reports reveal massive Communist infiltration into northeast Thailand.
In the midst of such political turmoil, which reportedly has worsened since the Communist takeover of Viet Nam last spring, more than 700 missionaries work with Thailand’s 37 million people. In Bangkok alone there are headquarters of about twenty evangelical and other mission groups.
The first missionaries to Thailand arrived in 1828 from American Presbyterian churches. The work they began is now a part of the Churches of Christian Thailand, with 174 congregations and 28,000 members. The Evangelical Fellowship of Thailand (EFT) is the largest evangelical body in Thailand recognized by the government’s religious affairs department. Among the twenty organizations that support it are the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Overseas Missionary Fellowship, and Worldwide Evangelization Crusade.
Missionaries and ministers report that many areas are unsafe for travel and this hampers evangelistic efforts. A CMA minister says the church in his area, northeast Thailand, is “going underground” and has asked for no more missionary visits. He predicts that within five months that area will be controlled by the Communists.
Despite this, cassette evangelism and Bible training is flourishing, say CMA and World Vision representatives. In Chiengmai, 450 miles north of Bangkok, an experimental cassette Bible school run by Voice of Peace, radio arm of WEC and the Danish Covenant Mission, currently has 200 students enrolled. In addition Voice of Peace broadcasts about thirty Bible programs daily. The Southern Baptists air gospel films each Saturday night on national television.
In Chiengrai province the Farm church has 1,000 members. The Communists have a base camp in the mountains only ten miles away reports the pastor, and they predict they will take over the province in six months and Thailand in two years. Even so, Thai churches in the area are growing. An entire village, for example, recently turned from the Buddhist temple to Christ. And OMF has a thriving Bible school at Phayao, fifty miles south of Chiengrai. One hundred miles south of Bangkok at Pattaya, an indigenous group called “Young Christians” held a Bible camp for students and young people last spring; over 250 attended. In north Thailand CCT sponsored another youth camp about the same time and had a couple of hundred people attending.
While the churches grow, so does the refugee problem. Fifty-three thousand refugees now live in Thailand—38,000 from Laos, 12,000 from Cambodia and 3,000 from South Viet Nam. The Thai government has asked the United Nations for $40 million to feed and clothe them. And three missionary organizations are currently helping: CMA, Southern Baptists, and Scandinavian Pentecostals. Also, WEC is sending a couple to begin work among the Thai people and refugees.
Adjusting The Methodology
Canadian Anglican evangelist Marney Patterson’s last two community-wide crusades were held in Catholic churches. Patterson says he is receiving full Catholic support and participation in future scheduled crusades.
His eight-day September crusade held in St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in the northern Alberta community of Fort McMurray was supported by all the town’s churches. Forty-nine of the 163 counseled made first-time decisions for Christ, and 40 per cent of those who made professions of faith were Catholics.
Trained counselors dealt personally with all who responded and provided them with follow-up materials published by the Navigators and Scripture Union, both evangelical organizations.
Patterson, who is the only full-time Anglican evangelist in North America, spoke at Sunday-morning mass in the Catholic church. The parish priest asked Patterson’s songleader to teach gospel songs to his congregation.
An October crusade in the town of Chateauguay in Quebec was held in Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church. Sponsored by the local ministerial association, it was aimed at the 40 per cent who speak English in the predominantly French community. Eighty-four of the 153 making first-time decisions were Catholics.
Patterson once more spoke at Sunday mass. Asked about the priests’ understanding of the meaning of the mass, Patterson was candid: “They haven’t moved away from transubstantiation, but for us to expect that of them at this point is to expect too much.”
The Canadian evangelist states that Protestant evangelicals’ response to his crusades involving Catholics is mixed. In some, they provide most of the counselors; in others, they refuse to participate. “We’re living in changing times,” says Patterson, “and we need to adjust our methodology in presenting the unchanging Gospel.”
LESLIE K. TARR
Happiness In Hong Kong
Hong Kong, the British crown colony on the China coast, is known for its pursuit of happiness. Architect David Y. K. Wong decided to make that theme work for the Christian cause last month when Billy Graham came to preach a five-day crusade. Wong, who is president of the Baptist World Alliance, designed the platform, including railings made in the shape of the Chinese character for happiness.
When the five-day campaign was over, Graham, Wong, and other leaders of the evangelistic effort were more than happy with the response. Team members reported that 20,400 persons left their seats to seek counseling about spiritual happiness. Crowds attending the five-day event set attendance records, with a cumulative estimated attendance of 217,000. The 68,500 at the closing meeting broke all records for a single event in Hong Kong.
Daniel Tse, president of Hong Kong Baptist College, said the crusade wiped away any doubt that the city was interested in spiritual revival. Tse, who translated the evangelist’s messages into Cantonese each night, explained that the colony’s proximity to mainland China, “which is not known to be friendly toward any form of religion,” results in a cautious attitude toward religious rallies and toward the future. He added, “Philosophically, Hong Kong’s people are known to have adopted the attitude of making money as quickly as possible and enjoying themselves while they still have time.”
The citizens of the future were most prominent in their participation and attendance. Crusade leaders estimated that 85 per cent of those at each meeting were between sixteen and twenty-one. While Graham has had a high degree of youth interest at his crusades in recent years, none has drawn more youth than the Hong Kong event.
Young people and others attending from Hong Kong as well as from nearby Macao and the New Territories, were serious in their pursuit of the happiness offered at the meetings. Graham observed many taking notes on his sermons, and he said the audiences were the most attentive in all his ministry. A veteran policeman at the stadium described the crowds as “the most orderly I have ever witnessed.”
Two facilities were needed to accommodate the turnout. The evangelist preached in Government Stadium, and the overflow crowd saw him via television in South China Stadium. The latter became available belatedly through postponement of two football games.
As usual with a Graham crusade, the large response did not happen without a large preparatory effort. Some 500 churches (90 per cent of those in the colony) were involved in the preparation. They fielded about 10,000 Christians weeks in advance to call at half a million homes and leave invitations to the stadium meetings and Christian literature.
Anglican bishop Gilbert Baker described the effort as a “tremendous demonstration of solidarity and cooperation.” He was echoed by Daniel Y. K. Cheung, pastor of the world’s largest Chinese church and crusade chairman. “Hong Kong has never known anything like this,” Cheung said. “We now have a great trained. I believe it is just the beginning of spiritual revival in our churches.”
Taking an active part in campaign meetings was Ruth Graham, the evangelist’s wife, who was born of missionary parents in China. “I feel this is the most important meeting we have ever held,” she told a reporter.
Graham’s next major crusade is in Seattle, Washington, next May. On the way back to the United States he scheduled appointments in Israel, Egypt, and England. Also on his itinerary was Kenya, where he planned to observe parts of the World Council of Churches assembly.
Religion In Transit
Claiming extortion and permanent damages to life, family, and employment, William B. Hinson, former minister of the Worldwide Church of God, last month served a $5 million lawsuit on Garner Ted Armstrong in Nashville, Tennessee. (Armstrong represents his father, founder Herbert W. Armstrong.) Hinson, a member of the sect since 1961, plans to write a book about his “experiences and traumas” and is interested in interviewing others with similar experiences.
The thirty-fifth interfaith National Bible Week will be observed November 23–30. It has been sponsored since 1941 by the Laymen’s National Bible Committee to stimulate interest in the Bible as a contemporary moral resource.
Ontario Bible College in Toronto, has purchased Regis College property, a nine-acre campus complex operated by the Jesuit order. This is at least the third time evangelical schools have bought a Catholic campus in Canada; Winnipeg Bible College and Berean Christian School in Brockville, Ontario, did so previously.
Wycliffe Bible Translators has been invited by the northern Cheyenne churches in southeastern Montana to assist the Cheyenne Indians in making a new translation of the New Testament in their language. Wycliffe workers found that about 65 per cent of adults over forty on the reservation speak the language and that in kindergarten through third grade, 15 per cent of the children speak the language.
In a recent decision, the Federal Trade Commission has ordered four West Coast travel agencies to stop promoting psychic surgery tours to the Philippines and to warn anyone who asks that they are a hoax. Not only must the tour promotions stop, but tour members must be notified in case they have discontinued vital medical treatment.
A Jewish source alleges that in the past sixty years authorities have closed 99 per cent of the synagogues in the Soviet Union. “Over 3,000 have been boarded up, knocked down, or desecrated,” he says. “Today there are only fifty left.”
Little news has come from Bangladesh with the change in regimes. Foreign correspondents have been banned. One of the world’s poorest nations, Bangladesh has a population of 75 million, the vast majority Muslim. There are ten million Hindus, some 400,000 Buddhists, and a sprinkling of Christians. Coup leaders have proclaimed it an Islamic state, a switch from its former neutral stance toward religion.
General Secretary Alexsi Bichkov of the main Soviet Baptist body was elected president of the European Baptist Federation. German Baptist executive Gerhard Claas will become general secretary of the federation when incumbent C. Ronald Goulding moves to a Baptist World Alliance post in Washington, D. C., next year.
Construction of a Mormon temple in Tokyo is scheduled to begin within a few months. It will be the world’s eighteenth Mormon temple and the first in Asia. Some 20,000 mostly short-term Mormon missionaries baptized more than 70,000 converts around the world last year, according to Mormon officials.
Every Home Crusade plans to distribute Bible portions and evangelistic literature to all of Thailand by the end of 1976. The group is also training four groups of twenty-five workers to carry out pioneer evangelistic work in the Amazon district of Brazil from the beginning of 1976. Four motor boats and fifty canoes will be used in this effort to reach the 3.6 million people of the area.
PAUL BECKWITH, 70, Inter-Varsity staff worker, best known as editor of IV hymnals; in Birmingham, Alabama, of a brain tumor.
LARRY M. HOYT, 40, executive secretary of Presbyterians United for Biblical Concerns; in Oakland, California, in an aviation accident.
NORMAN L. TROTT, 74, president emeritus of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D. C.; in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
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